1 in 2 Filipinos shopped online for first time in 2020 amid pandemic: VISA study

Jessica Fenol, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 18 2021 06:24 PM

1 in 2 Filipinos shopped online for first time in 2020 amid pandemic: VISA study 1
Citizens use their phones in Quezon City amid the modified enhanced community quarantine on August 16, 2020. Consumers turned to e-commerce for their daily needs when the COVID-19 lockdowns were imposed. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA - One out of 2 Filipinos shopped online for the first time last year, according to a VISA study released Thursday, as locked down, health-conscious consumers shifted to cashless transactions and payments due to the pandemic.

Online shopping, whether on e-commerce sites, social media and various market places, as well as home delivery services surged in 2020, according to the VISA Consumer Payment Attitudes Study.

Fifty two percent of Filipinos shopped online through apps and websites for the first time during the pandemic, according to the study which was conducted across Southeast Asia with the participation of 1,000 Filipinos nationwide. 

Meanwhile, close to 9 in 10 of existing Filipino online shoppers said they increased their online activities, the study said. 

"This admittedly is a new habit for many Filipinos," VISA country manager for the Philippines and Guam Dan Wolbert told reporters in a virtual briefing.

"What comes across is the pandemic has really driven a rise in new shopping behaviors...There’s a natural shift to online and e-commerce and these survey results truly reflect that," Wolbert added.

Over 9 of 10 Filipino respondents used home delivery in the Philippines "likely due to lockdowns or movement restriction orders in the country during the pandemic," VISA said. 

Logistics delivery services, online grocery shopping and e-commerce, in general, grew exponentially last year as millions of Filipinos were stuck at home due to various levels of COVID-19 restrictions.

VISA said the acceleration of e-commerce activities also boosts the use of digital and cashless payments in the country.

One in 4 active VISA card users made their first e-commerce purchase during the first half of 2020, the study showed. Cash usage also shrank last year, the study showed. 

During the pandemic, 5 out of 10 payments were made using cash, down from 7 out 10 before COVID-19, the study showed. 

Using cashless payments, perceiving cash as unsafe from infection and more places adopting digital payments are the top reasons for carrying less cash, the study said.

Contactless payments rose 66 percent in usage among current users due to the pandemic while 88 percent who have not used contactless payments showed interest in using this method in the future, it said.

Filipinos said some of the benefits of using contactless cards include not having to carry cash and feeling safe from infection.

Respondents also noted that travel is the top category they're most looking forward to spending on when the COVID-19 pandemic is contained, VISA said. 

Many places in the country are still under various stages of COVID-19 restrictions, limiting mobility and boosting the need for cashless payments and online transactions for basic needs.